Rich Robinson @ WERS
Rich Robinson walks into WERS with a simultaneous ease that comes with the professionalism of over 20 years of touring and the spiritual cower of a sojourner preferring to speak through his music, his own language. Rich performed in support of WERS’ Live Music Week Fund Drive and his own album, Through a Crooked Window, which chronicles an optimism that may seem strange to longtime Robinson fans but is executed with familiar energy. The album was released on October 11th.
“Hey Fear” moves with the darkness of 90s grunge and loses no bite in the shift from the rock and roll stage to the solo acoustic guitar. The alto vocal line is doubled above the tenth fret on the guitar. Robinson describes his work as “music to enjoy or not enjoy,” which loses all sense of apathy when he picks his guitar and opens his mouth to sing; the point of the music is not enjoyment but understanding that you are listening to a man speak a native tongue, like witnessing an ancient Native American ritual and knowing only that what you are seeing is deeply meaningful even if you yourself cannot understand it.
Robinson recorded Through a Crooked Window during three weeks in Woodstock, NY and features many local residents and international stars such as Karl Berger, John Medeski, Warren Haynes, and Larry Campbell. His second solo album, Robinson says on Window, “the creative process flowed a lot more…there was a real sense of moving forward, of optimism.” This isn’t hard to find in the second song Rich played “Lost and Found” with the opening lyrics, “Seen the shelter from deep inside/Watch my spirit come out and fly.” The song works sonically like a prose poem, with Robinson dynamically shifting emphasis of lyrics and hooks all throughout.
It was a true pleasure for us to spend some time with Rich Robinson, stay tuned to WERS and WERS.org for more from Live Music Week.
Words and Photos by Jake Sorgen